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South Africa’s Nakhane, a truly unique voice in modern pop, grew up in Port Elizabeth in a deeply religious community. Though his upbringing ignited his love of music and unlocked his flair for performance, it also taught him guilt and shame that has proved difficult to rid himself of. “When I was Christian and prayed to God everyday, I had only hatred for myself,” Nakhane says. “Every day of my life, I was doing all I possibly could to be like everyone else, to be heterosexual. I was even convinced I would be able to ‘heal’ my homosexuality. I was living in constant fear; controlling myself at all times.”
In his early 20s, Nakhane came out and made the decision to renounce his Christian faith. Despite moving towards self-acceptance, he found an emptiness left in the silence that was normally filled by prayer. Having always found solace in music, Nakhane channelled both his pain and his newly found joy into his writing, and his forthcoming album You Will Not Die is a startling document of the person he was, and the person he is now.